Ravel: Complete Music for Solo Piano
Gordon Fergus-Thompson
Label
Decca
Catalogue No.
4829041
Barcode
00028948290413
Format
2-CD
About

Recorded for the ASV label in 1990, this collection of Ravel’s piano music has never previously been released complete. Now reissued for the first time in more than a decade, this set presents not the kind of coolly objective view of the fastidious composer-craftsman to which modern recordings have made us accustomed but more of a poet in sound and in touch with his Basque origins.

The piano, for Ravel, was the principal medium of musical thought and his approach to the instrument was at once lavish and precise. Lisztian virtuosity is entwined with an antique spirit of French dance in both the darkly Impressionist ‘Gaspard de la nuit’ and the much gentler strains of the ‘Valses nobles et sentimentales’. Likewise J’eux d’eau’ takes its inspiration from a Lisztian template while ‘Le tombeau de Couperin’ pays deeply affectionate tribute both to friends killed in the First World War and to an imagined Eden of formal manners and gentility, presumed lost forever.

Although his repertoire ranges from Bach to Webern, Gordon Fergus-Thompson has won particular renown as a Franco-Russian specialist in command of the most technically challenging repertoire by the likes of Balakirev. Following the reissue of his complete Scriabin recordings as well as his renowned Debussy, Eloquence brings back another pair of albums which finds the pianist in his element: rhythmically free yet in complete control of Ravel’s fastidiously exacting scores; timbrally refined yet abandoned to the Viennese excess of ‘La valse’ as well as the blurred, dream-like moods of the ‘Miroirs.

TRACK LISTING / ARTISTS

MAURICE RAVEL
Complete Music for Solo Piano
CD 1
Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, M.61
Gaspard de la Nuit, M.55
Jeux d’eau
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68

CD 2
Prélude
Miroirs, M.43
Menuet sur le nom de Haydn
Menuet antique
Sérénade grotesque
Sonatine, M.40
À la manière de… Borodine
À la manière de… Chabrier
Pavane pour une infant défunte

Gordon Fergus-Thompson, piano

Track previews
Sérénade grotesque
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68: 1. Prélude
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 6. Vif
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 5. Presque lent - dans un sentiment intime
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 4. Assez animé
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 3. Modéré
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 2. Assez lent
Gaspard de la nuit, M.55: II. Le gibet
Gaspard de la nuit, M.55: I. Ondine
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 8. Epilogue - Lent
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 7. Moins vif
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68: 6. Toccata
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68: 5. Menuet
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68: 4. Rigaudon
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68: 3. Forlane
Le Tombeau de Couperin, M.68: 2. Fugue
Jeux d'eau
Sonatine, M.40 - for Piano: 1. Modéré
Gaspard de la nuit, M.55: III. Scarbo
Menuet antique
Menuet sur le nom de Haydn
Miroirs, M.43: 5. La vallée des cloches
Miroirs, M.43: 4. Alborada del gracioso
Miroirs, M.43: 3. Une barque sur l'océan
Miroirs, M.43: 2. Oiseaux tristes
Miroirs, M.43: 1. Noctuelles
Prélude
Pavane pour une Infante Défunte
A la manière de. . Chabrier
A la manière de. . Borodine
Sonatine, M.40 - for Piano: 3. Animé
Sonatine, M.40 - for Piano: 2. Mouvement de menuet
Valses nobles et sentimentales, M.61: 1. Modéré - très franc
Recording information

Recording Producer: Alexander Waugh
Balance Engineer: Martin Haskell
Recording Location: All Saints Church, Petersham, London, UK, 1990
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer

Reviews

‘Fergus-Thompson sounds sparkier and freer, with a gentler flow of tone and more space in the recording … There’s no problem, at least, about brilliance of effect. The finale of the Sonatine finds more vigour and purpose, and some of the minor pieces have an attractive light touch.’
BBC Music Magazine

‘Fergus-Thompson […] confirms his calibre and status as a distinguished, most individual Francophile … Even the most experienced Ravelians will find themselves returning to these finely recorded accounts for a special and magical enlightenment.’ Gramophone, October 1993